tv Jansing and Co. MSNBC February 12, 2013 10:00am-11:00am EST
o...far away. ♪ good morning. i'm chris jansing, live in vatican city. you can see the vatican behind me. and boy, there is an interesting energy in this city. preparations underway for the conclave. that will, of course, elect the successor to pope benedict after that shocking decision yesterday to step down. and another big story we're following is back at home, because the president is putting the finishing touches on the first state of the union speech of his second term. and we'll have a lot more on that coming up in this hour. but this morning, we are starting to get new information about pope benedict, and particularly about his health. decisions that may have played
into his shocking announcement to abdicate. for example, we now know this morning, the pope has had a pacemaker for some time and actually had a minor operation to replace its batteries three months ago. we're also hearing for the first time about a fall he took while he was on a trip to cuba in mexico. just hours after his announcement, this video circulated. you can see it shows lightning striking st. peter's basilica, maybe leading some catholics to wonder if it was some sort of sign from above. a sign of what, that's also a source of speculation here. i'm joined by elizabeth lev here in rome. good to see you. >> great to be here. it's a really thrilling time. >> well, it is interesting, isn't it? because i've been here so many times, the energy here is very different. >> it's completely different. when you think about it, there was one energy for that solemnity of the funeral, but right now we have that kind of sense of going into uncharted
waters, altogether, something new. v it's very much what the church says, ever ancient, ever new. well, we've got new. >> let's talk about what went on behind the scenes. he made this announcement in latin at what would otherwise be a fairly routine gathering of cardinals. you have to understand, a lot of cardinals don't speak latin, so they weren't even sure what was going on. reportedly, those who could understand, some of them started to cry. the pope then went back to his private headquarters and cried. what do you think, catherine, or what are you hearing? >> part of me wishes i was there just for that amazing moment, we're going to canonize these 800 martyrs, oh, by the way, i'm resigning. and this pause as this latin translation hits the first. he did found a latin academy, maybe people should start going. i suspect, on the other hand, that benedict, we know he's been
meditating this for a long time. maybe the actual moment was very dramatic for him, but at the same time, we understand, he makes us understand that this was a decision made with serenity. what i've heard is that he went and he divested his investments and he simply said, it's in god's hands. and i think that trust in god that he's shown for his ponti pontifica pontificate, he'll continue to follow through. >> but a kind of a paradox. this is a very traditional pope. he brought back some of the latin and pre-vatican procedures the to the mass, yet he is charting this whole new territory. i think it has a lot to do, frankly, with modern medicine and the fact that we keep people alive a lot longer, but as he pointed out, he's leading this huge organization of 1.1 billion people and it takes a certain amount of stamina and energy. >> there are two things that your comments make me think of. one, we've kind of cast him as this traditional pope, but he shows up on the scene, you know,
the rottweiler, god's rottweiler, and about how god is loved. the next thing you know, he's first creating this big ruckus, but then the next thing you know, we have this incredible move forward in christian muslim dialogue. we have a pope who goes into hot spots, places where people literally say, we don't want you here. there's a part of him that's been just as much of a maverick and a bit of a surprising drama guy as john paul ii. so i think that's one aspect of it. and then, the other thing i think about this new charted, this uncharted territory of our conclave is we're going to be heading into preparing for something while the pope is still alive and it makes it more difficult to understand how to process that. >> let me bring in monsignor anthony figueroa, a personal assistant to pope john paul ii and literally just ran over here to be with us. thank you very much for being with us again. >> good to see you again.
>> take us inside the vatican right now. because there's so many decisions that have to be made without precedent. what kinds of key decisions are being made right now, besides, obviously, when do we call the cardinals here and when do we start this conclave? >> well, i think in many ways, the conclave has already begun. obviously not on an official level, but certainly, we know that we will have a new pope. and so we're already beginning to try to understand the great gifts that have come from pope benedict xvi and i'm sure that the cardinals and the pope himself, they're all praying and reflecting on how to carry the church forward, so that both the challenges and opportunities before us, truly we find the best possible successor to already two great popes, john paul ii and pope benedict. there are two things that obviously play into this as the cardinals are making their consideration. one is theology, and the question americans always asked is, will we get a more liberal
pope. and the second is stylistic, because he was much more introverted and intellectual, i guess more professorial, i guess would be the word, than certainly pope john ii. so what are the key things the cardinals will be looking at? >> there are a couple of things. first of all, the makeup of the college. 67 of the cardinals have now been chosen by pope benedict and 50 were chosen by pope john paul ii. two popes, who were very much on similar lines, in terms of theology. so i don't think we're going to see any great divide between liberal and conservative. we're simply going to see popes who want to be faithful to the teaching and to the will of god. and the other point to make, very clearly, is that they want to face the challenges which are before us at this time. what are some of those challenges? one is how to reach people in the pews. how to put to them the good news that the church has to offer. another issue is how to have dialogue, with religions, the
great rise of islam. how are we going to truly dialogue with these religions, in order to reach a truth, the truth, which we believe as roman catholics. and i think a third issue is, many of the problems that the world faces, the church too needs to tackle. for example, beginning of life issues, end of life issues. how do we deal with marriage? how do we deal with the sanctity of marriage. how do we deal with moral issues. how do we deal with the economic crisis? that's what people want to hear. that's what people need to hear in the world we're living in, in order that we give them hope. i think i heard something that i think is very important, when you said, chris, pope john paul ii opened people's hearts. pope benedict filled people's hearts. he was a theologian. so now, what i think we need is somehow who allows people to take what they have received and now use it in their lives for the good of others. >> monsignor, thank you for coming over. liz lev, thank you, they will be staying with us and we'll be talking to them later on in this program. the other big story, back in
the states, tonight's state of the union address. where the president is expected to focus on the economy. and here's what senior adviser valerie jarrett said this morning. >> he will demonstrate concretely how we have to of invest in manufacturing, making the united states a magnet for job growth, preparing our workforce, and making sure that if you work hard, you can earn a good living. and he will lay out very specifically how we want to accomplish that. >> i want to bring in congressman tom cole, a republican from oklahoma, and also a member of the house appropriations committee. congressman, good morning. we don't have the details yet, of course, but when you hear the word "invest," it sounds like it means money. would you support more spending if it's about jobs programs, if that's part of this state of the union? >> well, probably not, in the way that i expect the president to lay out his position tonight. and by the way, congratulations on covering what you're covering right now. it's amazing. but back to the main point. look, i'm not sure that the
president understands that to get things done, he's got to work with republicans. what i hope to hear tonight is what i didn't hear in the inaugural, that he'll reach out to the other side of the aisle and honestly to the 48% of the people that did not vote for him and find some common ground. so far, he hasn't done that. but i think to accomplish much in the next term, he needs to. >> besides the word the president uses, a lot of people are going to be watching his tone and i want to play for you what senator joe manchin said this morning. >> you want to hear that spirit of bipartisan, i mean, we need to come together. we really do. and the leader sets that tone. and i'm hoping to hear that tonight. i really am. when you're in that position, you keep taking a thumping every day, trying to bring people together, and you just never give up. >> and in "the new york times," we have seen this, "he has shown an assertiveness, self-possession, even cockiness that contrasts with the caution, compromise, and reserve that he showed for much of his first
term." so i'm wondering what you're looking for in tone, as well as in substance tonight. >> actually, we probably agree a lot on that point. i've worked with the president on the fiscal cliff deal. i've worked with him on hurricane sandy relief. i'm working on him right now on the violence against women act. yet, we see absolutely no give on the other side in terms of how we are approaching issues like the sequester, like the continuing resolution, and like the debt ceiling crisis. all of which are in front of us. to solve those, and resolve them s successfully for the country, the president does have to work with republicans. that's something he's had a hard time doing in his first term, and now it appears he doesn't want to work with them at all. and that's too bad. this isn't 2009. he doesn't have overwhelming majorities in both houses. to get something done, he'll have to bring a republican house on board to work with him, just like bill clinton did, it's not that hard to do. and he's going to have to work with a closely divided senate. so honestly, so far, we haven't seen much in terms of that tone
or attitude. i'm hopeful we'll see a shift tonight, but frankly, i'm prepared to be disappointed. because i have been so far. >> well, congressman tom cole, thank you so much for coming on the program. >> thank you, chris. the u.n. security council is holding an emergency meeting this morning after north korea's laterest nuclear test. early readings show this device was three to six times more powerful than any previous test. president obama called it a, quote, highly provocative act that threatens u.s. security and international peace. nbc's chief foreign correspondent, richard engel, will join me here live in our next half hour with more on this. they could save a lot of money on their car insurance by switching to geico...they may even make you their best man. may i have the rings please? ah, helzberg diamonds. nice choice, mate. ...and now in the presence of these guests we join this loving couple. oh dear... geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.
european bookmakers are placing odds on who will secede pope benedict when he steps down. i'm joined by father robert beren a professor in chicago and an nbc news analyst. and since there's a little bit of a delay, i'm just going to plow in and say, good morning, and ask you about, first of all, the front-runner, at least if you belief the odds makers. he would be the first black pope. he is cardinal arinze from nigeria. tell us about him. >> actually, i'm a little bit surprised that he'd be seen as the front-runner, just given his age. last time around, eight years ago, i think he might have been a better choice. now he's 80, and having just elected a 78-year-old pope, who's resigning now for old age, i would frankly doubt they'd go for someone as old as arinze. having said that, he's a very impressive gentleman. he was involved with inter-religious dialogue for many years, so he has a sense of the wider religious world. he was also the prefect for the congregation for litt ergy and
sack remits. he's a very charming, funny, and articulate man. there's a lot to recommend him, but i think his age might stand in the way. >> a 68-year-old could become the first north american pope. i'm talking about a cardinal from canada who leads the congregation of bishops, a very powerful position. what can you tell me? >> cardinal ouellet is a very powerful man. i heard him effortlessly go from italian to spanish to french to german to portuguese to english. he has extraordinary linguistic command. there he reminds you very much of john paul ii. he's also a salpesian. so he's very involved in
education. he knows in latin america world. an impressive man with a wide-ranging experience and a very fine mine mind. so ouellet is a major player, i would say. >> there is some speculation, as well, about cardinal timothy dolan from new york. now, he's a very new cardinal, but he has a way about him that a lot of people find very engaging, in a time when, of course, a lot of people believe the church needs to reengage, the way pope john paul ii did. what do you think the realistic chances are for cardinal dolan? >> i think realistically, they're slim. i'm a big dolan fan. he catches that spirit, you know, of john paul ii, the outreach to the wider world. i think in himself, he's an extraordinary strong candidate. i think his being an american would tell very much against him. i doubt they'd give the papacy to, you know, an american that the lone superpower in the world. but, you know, he's an
impressive character. and i think he would bring an awful lot to that office. but, realistically, i would say his chances are slim. >> well, we're going to be talking a lot more about other possibilities in the days and weeks to come, i'm sure. father robert barron, thank you. >> chris, great being with you, thank you. just a little while ago, outgoing defense secretary, leon panetta, said good-bye to his staff at the pentagon. >> it has been the honor of my life to have served with you in this position as secretary of defense. it's been the greatest privilege i've had in my almost 50 years of public service to be able to represent the people of this department, to our friends and to our partners around the world. >> chuck hagel, the man tapped the to secede panetta at the pentagon, will face his first major hurdle today. the senate armed services committee will vote today on his
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welcome back to rome, where we are looking ahead to two big stories. of course, the future of the catholic church after the resignation of pope benedict, but also, back at home, tonight's big state of the union speech. president obama expecting to focus on the economy. and coming up in just a few minutes, we'll be talking with new york congresswoman, nita lowey. but back here in rome the surprise, shocking abdication by pope benedict is sparking a lot of conversations about the direction of the catholic church. the next pope will have to deal with the fallout of the priest sex abuse scandal, among other things, and always the question
of, what happens when you have a situation that we haven't been in since the middle ages. joining me is vatican spokesman, greg fur. good to see you. >> thank you. >> first of all, what's going on back at the vatican? who's meeting? how are these decisions being made, for example, about when the conclave will be? >> that's all going to be decided in the coming days, not so fast. for right now, live goes on as normal, but not really normal. that's an exaggeration, to say normal. yesterday was a holiday. i thought i would have the day off, didn't turn out to be much of a day off. but in the coming days, i think we'll get some more of the details about when the conclave will start. it's very similar to when a pope dies. i mean, the difference in terms of what will happen in terms of the process is just, you won't have the days of mourning. you'll still have a start with the general congregations, which are the meetings of all the cardinals, even those over the age of 80. so it will start with that, before the conclave proper begins. >> so let's do a little chronological order. first of all, will we see the
pope tomorrow? is he going to do a wednesday audience? >> you'll see the pope twice tomorrow. you'll see the pope with a wednesday audience, which i don't think will be outside. we'll see wlahat happens. >> it's a little rainy today. >> the last one will be on the 27th, and that one we do hope to have outside, as long as weather permits, so a lot of people can come. it will probably be indoors, so we'll still see the pope. but we've seen the pope five, ten times in the last week. of course, there's a lot more interest right now. so i don't think we should expect anything special. he may say something, obviously, special, and i think the crowd will be a little more interested, obviously, and you'll see the pope tomorrow evening, because tomorrow lent begins. >> ash wednesday. >> right, ash wednesday. and normally that was done on a small church across town. but because of the special circumstances, it will be in st. peter's tomorrow and you'll see that. you'll see a very beautiful ceremony, by the way. >> i can't sit here and not think of the almost five weeks i've spent here in 2005, for the illness of pope john paul, the funeral, there were people lined up, wanting to pay their
respects, for 24 hours they waited in live. and of course we had the conclave, and then we had the ceremony for benedict. obviously, there's not a funeral this time, but will there be some sort of formal good-bye? >> i'm not expecting, i can't say no for sure, but knowing the pope, i can't expect a big bash. when the pope went to the u.s., it was his birthday, he didn't want a birthday party, they didn't want a state dinner. they had a cake at the white house and everything, but he did not want a state dinner. he's not that kind of person. >> and yet, people will want an opportunity, don't you think -- >> they will want to and they'll have their chance when -- the other thing the pope does on sundays, the greeting from his window. you'll see an extra big crowd, i think, from that. and the audience, that audience will be overflow, obviously. >> he has not made any secret of the fact, in his statement, that his health has been failing. his brother has talked about that in the last 24 hours. and we're also learning about a
pacemaker, a minor surgery he had to replace the batteries, a fall that he took maybe in cuba and mexico. what can you tell us about his overall state of health and what this retirement will be like for him? >> i don't have anything on the fall in mexico or cuba, the pacemaker and the battery replaced, you don't resign because you have a pacemaker, you don't resign because you have your battery in your pacemaker replaced, obviously. that's pretty clear. what i can say is, i've watched him closely over the last seven to eight years, and it's been a steady decline. you know, he's not in terrible shape. i watched him three days ago, speak off the cuff for a half hour to a group of seminarians and he was great. his mind is obviously there. very much engaged. very, very sharp. however, i have to admit that, you know, part of my new job means going to all the christmas ceremonies and all the new year's ceremonies and i got nervous every time he had to negotiate steps, you know, because i was like, guys, come on, be close to him.
>> we've seen people helping him move around. >> yeah, yeah, and that's part of being 85, almost 86. >> well, greg, it is great to have you. by the end of the week, though, we may know something about the schedule? >> by the end of the week, we'll know more or less when things will get underway. >> greg burke, who did not get a holiday and will not be getting one for at least the next month or so. thanks. i'm joined now by carl bernstein, contributor to the daily beast, who co-authored a book about pope john paul and who was here with me in rome when we covered the death of john paul. and carl, it is good to see you. and i'm wondering just about your general reaction now, eight years later, when many people thought this would be a placeholder pope, what are your thoughts today? >> i think that it was worse than a placeholder pope. that the church fell into a kind of morass because of its internal problems and the failure to modernize its
institutions, the conclave that elected benedict probably could have seen this coming, it didn't. but the truly revolutionary act of this papacy is the resignation of benedict while he's still somewhat able. it breaks tradition and it's an extraordinary and brave act that perhaps will enable the next conclave to think differently about the future of the church. and i started doing some thinking and going back and looking at modern history of the church last night. maybe, they're always talking, the cardinals, about hoe the holy spirit may move them. maybe it's time for a new vatican council, such as pope john xxiii called in the middle of the century, in the '60s, that revolutionized the church, the church in the modern world. and i looked at his opening prayer of vatican ii, in which he said, it was time for the doctrine to be studied afresh and reformulated in contemporary
terms. my guess is that there are a lot of cardinals that know that something has to be done to turn the ship of this great and old and troubled institution in a new direction, and perhaps a conclave, such as a new ecumenical council, might be occurring to some of them. one would hope. >> do you think that the election of this new pope will give us an indication of where the church is going? and i mean in this context, because we know that in his writings, pope benedict had actually argued for a more traditional church, a more conservative church, and then a smaller church, believing that if you focus on what have been the traditional and core values, that the church will grow, in ways that it has in latin america and in africa. that in opposition to a lot of more western, european, americans who believe that the church has to be more open, has
to at least consider a wider role for women in the church, perhaps married priests, no more celibate priests. is that what you think the battle will be? and will we get an indication when we see who the new pope is? >> i don't think it's quite that simple. it's not quite simple terms like conservative or liberal. it's a very nuanced concept, because the theology of the church and great catholic social teaching and its application to the third world are not necessarily antithetical to a modern papal and vatican institution and a different kind of hierarchy and a different role for women. that's why i'm suggesting, perhaps, a new ecumenical council, which would take two or three years, as vatican ii did, to study and reformulate these matters, might be an answer to help the church in this terribly troubled time, for the faithful.
but what happens when a cardinal is elevated to the papacy is a mysterioious process. we didn't know that john xxiii was going to be the great pope that he was, he we didn't know that votilla was going to be the great pope that he was, even though what we're seeing now in terms of the status of the church go back to him. he's the great figure in the fall of communism. he's one of the great popes of all time, and yet, this terrible difficulty of the role of the priesthood, of the role of women, became worse, as well as many other questions internally and institutionally during the papacy of john paul ii. now will a new pope in his mysterious way and through contemplation and prayer, and we're not going to know when he
gets up at that window, after the grey smoke, and makes his first address to the people gathered where you are, what he is going to do. it's going to take a little bit of time. but the hope, i think, is that we will get a pope, the world will get a pope, this church will get a pope who thinks differently and perhaps thinks differently than what the cardinals' expectations of him are going to be. don't forget, these cardinals, two-thirds of them were appointed by john paul ii, and pope benedict. theologically, they adhere to the same views as john paul ii and benedict, in terms of the hierarchy of the church. they're not really, most of them, for any kind of break with the past. and yet, there have been popes who see, through whatever means of prayer, contemplation, tradition, whatever, that their job is to move the church in a
different direction, and that's why i'm suggesting that john xxiii, with his call for vatican ii and ecumenical council, to look and re-evaluate the role of the church and particular the hierarchy, women, sexual questions in the modern world, this might be on the agenda of the next pope. carl bernstein, it is good to talk to you, even from afar. thank you so much for being with us. >> you're in a beautiful spot. >> it is, indeed. also making news this morning, nbc news has now confirmed the president will mention the nuclear test reportedly conducted in north korea in his state of the union speech tonight. he is expected to say that the only way north korea can re-join the international community is if they stop these threats. north koreans say the country conducted its third nuclear test in an act of, quote, self-defense. with me now, nbc's chief foreign correspondent, richard engel. good to see you, richard.
>> good to see you. no surprise he's going to mention that this is a very big deal, that north korea blew up what appears to be a nuclear weapon in the overnight hours of the united states. >> and a much stronger one than we've ever seen before. >> i wouldn't be so much concerned about the power, although that's obviously something to think about. it's the fact that north korea said it was miniaturized. and you have to look back at the context. a few weeks ago, north korea launched an object into space. that is the same kind of technology or an intercontinental ballistic missile. now, a kind of missile that could reach the united states. now it blows up a miniaturized nuclear weapon, that is a warhead. so what you have when you bring those two together is a direct message to the united states. we can put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile and send it to you. and that is the kind of message that north korea is clearly sending to the united states, that north korea wants to be recognized, it wants to have negotiations, it wants to be
back into the international community. that's why president obama is going to say, you're not going to get that. this isn't the way to get recognition. and north korea is making a very powerful statement. there aren't that many countries that can project destructive power to the united states. >> yeah, obviously escalating the challenge for the administration about what to do. but, also, the international community watching what china will do as well. >> this is a problem for china, because china generally has a non-interventionist policy. doesn't like to get too deeply involved into the foreign policies of other countries. it doesn't want too many more sanctions on north korea, as north korea has already sort of sanctioned out, for fear that north korea could collapse into anarchy and you'd have refugees flowing over the border. so, yes, this is a challenge for the neighbors. but this is really a message for the united states. you remember last year, north korea tried to launch a satellite into space, and i was in north korea at the time.
it went up for about 90 seconds and then blew up. everyone knew at the time, including intelligence officials, that north korea would try again, and that once they got a successful missile launch, they would probably have a nuclear test. because combined, it's very powerful. now, u.s. intelligence officials have told me that north korea right now has probably a dozen to, at the most, several dozen weapons-deliverable nuclear devices. this is a serious challenge for the obama administration. something he's going to have to address tonight. >> and we are told he will talk about this tonight in the state of the union. richard, thank you so much for coming over. meantime, speaking of the state of the union, the speaker of the house, john boehner, held a meeting this morning and gave his own preview of what to expect. nbc's kelly o'donnell was there and she joins me live from capitol hill. kelly, i understand some very strong language from boehner. what did he have to say? >> well, good morning, chris. this is a tradition on the state of the union day that the speaker of the house meets with
a small group of broadcast reporters, who cover him. and it was a wide-ranging, hour-long meeting. and it really was a difference in tone from what we've seen in past years. while the speaker maintains he has that good relationship with the president, he had some sharp words. in particular, in talking about what he believes is the president's approach to dealing with the fiscal crisis, spending issues, those kinds of things, this is a quote from speaker john boehner. "i think he'd like," meaning the president," to do the kind of heavy lifting that needs to be done. here's the key quote, i don't think he's got the guts to do it. that fell in the room. and we pressed the speaker about that. did he really mean that? and he reiterated, saying he doesn't think he has the courage to take on his own party. further explaining, he said that he knows the president gets that there's a spending problem, but he doesn't believe that he's been willing to take it on, in part wanting to fight republicans for the potential that perhaps it would be a speaker nancy pelosi at the midterm, a majority leader harry reid still in charge, to make
the final years of the president's term perhaps more successful. so it was a long meeting, but that is a key sign of what boehner's tone and approach is right now. he also said he hopes the president does not get in the way on immigration, saying he sometimes thinks the president wants to have an issue instead of a solution. i'll have more for you as the day unfolds. chris? >> all right. nbc's kelly o'donnell with the latest from the speaker of the house. thanks very much. and then, back here in rome, of course, as we are covering the abdication of pope benedict, in the past thousand years, there have been only four other popes who have abdicated, so we thought this would be an interesting history lesson, other than the current pope. pope gregory xii abdicated in 1415, although he was one of three rivals for the position, and he stepped down to make way for the election of one pope. there also was pope celestine iv, who left after only four
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heart-healthy, whole grain oats. you can't go wrong loving it. stay away. a new study from wake forest university measured how far flu particles can emit from a patient, by measuring the amount in a patient's system and the amount in the air around them. researchers showed the virus can spread up to 6 feet away, much farther than previously thought. we are back live here in rome, and here and across the globe, the world is watching as the president delivers his fourth state of the union speech. but what are the expectations? well, the headline in today's "washington post" says, "impact of state of the union speeches isn't very lasting." i want to bring in congresswoman nita lowey, the ranking member
of the house appropriations committee. good morning, congressman. good to see you. >> hi, chris. good to be with you. >> i want to first get your reaction to something we just learned about. there was a briefing for members of the media by speaker of the house john boehner and he said that the president doesn't have the guts to deal with the fiscal mess. do you want to respond to that? >> yes. the president had republican and democratic leadership in the room at the end of last year when the republicans just stood up and walked out. i understand that they were this close to having a deal. so, i'm not quite sure what he's talking about. speaker boehner can't get the support of his party. and i want to make it very clear, we did pass, bipartisan, democrat and republican, the budget control act, that would cut $1.5 trillion in both cuts and caps on future spending and discretionary spending is the lowest as the percentage of the economy in 45 years.
speaker boehner must understand that a sequester is deadly for the economy. businesses can't make decisions. it would mean furloughs of air traffic controllers, cuts in funding from the nih for breast cancer, for autism, for alzheimer's. it would mean food and safety inspectors would be furloughed. so, this position of speaker boehner doesn't make any sense. we should sit down at the table, pass some more tough decisions. we're adults. we were elected to make tough decisions. and not just walk away and throw your hands up. and i hope that the president of the united states makes this point. we have got to look to the future. we've got to create jobs. growing the economy is the most important challenge for all of us. and if we make these kind of random cuts, sequesters across the board, it would be a disaster.
>> we know there are a lot of reports that the president is going to give a strong speech tonight, that he believes he has the political wind at his back. on the other hand, earlier today, your colleague, kevin mccarthy, had this to say about the president. >> the number one priority anybody elected should do a budget. you know, if the senate doesn't pass a budget, they won't be paid. same thing for the house. the house has always passed the budget since we took the majority. i listened to the white house. i wished the white house would put that same political pressure behind their own senate democrats to pass a budget. >> does the president need to light a fire under senate democrats? >> look, i want to make it very clear, as i said a minute ago, but it's worth repeating. we passed the budget control act, cutting $1.5 trillion in budget caps and cuts over the next ten years. paul ryan, membership friend, budget, doesn't balance for 40 years. so budget control act has the force of law.
you can talk about budgets, but his budget isn't going to balance. we have to make some tough decisions. the president had everyone in the room so close to a decision and the republican leadership walked out. >> congresswoman nita lowey, it's always good to see you and thanks for coming on the program. >> thank you, and give my best to the pope. hope you have a good, good time. bye. >> thank you so much. i'll be sure to pass that along. well, today's tweet of the day comes from nbc's late-night host, jimmy fallon. "the pope says he plans to enjoy his privacy and quietly enjoy this has golden years. just kidding. he's going on "dancing with the stars"." and noodles on spoons. a kite, a breeze, a dunk of grilled cheese. catches and throws, and spaghettio's. a wand, some wings, soup with good things. sidewalks and doodles and wholesome noodles. puddles and pails and yes, puppy dog tails.
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coming from all around the world after the shopping announcement of abdication of pope benedict. back with final thoughts is monsignor figaroio, and elizabeth lev, professor of symbolism at duquesne university in rome. have we ever seen anything like this? i mean, liz, you and i have spent a lot of time here, covering so many different events. it's -- this is true -- i mean, it's 24 hours, and we're still all a little bit in a state of shock. >> i think it presents a really interesting problem. because the times we've been here before -- it has a closing of a pontifpontificate. so we're here with a sense of closure, with the preparation to see the body of one pope, so say good-bye to one pope and to welcome in another. but how is it that we, the world, not the people who live with the pope every day, but how are we in the world going to be able to say good-bye to a man who served us so faithfully for eight years? how do we have a retirement party for the pope? how do we express this affection?
>> and when i was talk to greg burke, the vatican spokesman, he was saying, this is a pope who's not going to want a lot of pomp and circumstance. i challenged him a little bit, and said, well, people might want to say good-bye. what do you think should happen between now and the 28th? >> we already know, for example, tomorrow, the holy father has moved his traditional ash wednesday mass from a very small church here to the main basilica. i really think now, he wants to reach as many people as he can. we already know his last audience is probably going to be in the main square. so he is a very shy, humble man. i think that struck me throughout this pontificatpontie humanity of pope benedict xvi. i think we'll see him reaching out to people and saying to them, i loved you during these years and i will not forget you. i want to remain with you, even while i'm in retirement. >> we have 20 seconds left, but i have to ask, as shocking as this announcement was, could the new pope who is elected, be a shocker? could it be someone from latin america or africa? what are the chances? >> i think the game is wide
open. the last two popes have surprised us. a pope from poland, and a pope from germany. and i think the holy spirit, even on this occasion, is going to say, look, i have made the decision here, not the cardinals. >> is a surprise coming, maybe? >> i think so, 2013 has started out with a surprise, and i don't think it's going to stop anytime soon. >> liz, monsignor, great to see both of you, as we will come in the coming weeks. that will wrap up this hour of "jansing and co." i'm chris jansing live in rome and i'll be here tomorrow as well for continuing coverage of the abdication of pope benedict, and of course, we'll have all the wrap-up of tonight's big state of the union speech. thomas roberts is up next. good morning, thomas. >> the amazing chris jansing, eyewitness to history, thanks so much. an amazing hour for rome. we'll chat in this next hour coming up as well. tolling our agenda, hour, today, the countdown to the president's state of the union address. he's talking the economy, troop withdrawal in skpafafghanistan breaking news overnight that north korea conducted its third
nuclear test. also, the faces of gun violence will be front and center at tonight's address, including the parents of pendia pendleton. plus, we'll talk with one lawmaker who's made it his mission to have as many victims as possible to attend tonight's address, victims of gun violence. and one of the infamous aisle hogs in congress who snags those front-row seats to history just for a chance to shake the president's hand, can you tell who it is? we'll have one live with us in the next hour. ha ha ha! no no no! not today! ha ha ha! ha ha ha! jimmy how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? happier than dikembe mutumbo blocking a shot. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. all the things we love about sunday meals into each of her pot pies.
mr. speaker, the president of the united states! >> president obama now just hours away from that storied speech before congress and the nation and the state of our union. hi, everybody. i'm thomas roberts. topping our agenda today, must-see tv. the address that will set the stage for the second half of the obama presidency, and the president is expected to expand his agenda, laying out the goal markers that will define his legacy in office, with a focus on